Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Kindle version of The Arimathean is live!

Finally. The Kindle version of The Arimathean is live and for sale on Please spread the word and hit the like button on the Amazon page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Arimathean Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Arimathean by Vernon Baker

The Arimathean

by Vernon Baker

Giveaway ends October 23, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, October 15, 2012

Here we go! October 27th is the day. The Arimathean book launch party at Papa J's and the Lobster Bar. For those of you who attended last year's launch of Slow Boat to Purgatory you know what a fun time we had. We'll again have a complimentary wine tasting featuring wines from the books. We'll also have some complimentary food pairings from a little restaurant that makes an appearance in The Arimathean(I wonder what restaurant that could be?). I'll be singing both books and we'll be giving away some cool gifts throughout the night. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and we'll go until the books are gone or all the wine is drunk. Whichever comes first!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Arimathean now on Goodreads!

Posted The Arimathean to my Good Reads author page today. Go on over and hit the like and add to your bookshelf. The book is at the publisher as we speak and the e-book should be available within the week! Thanks to everyone for your patience. We're almost there! Just copy and paste!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Excerpt from The Arimathean.

The countdown continues to the release of The Arimathean. Still shooting for the first week of October(fingers crossed).

In the meantime here's a little taste...Alex remembers Sophia

And so it went for the most wonderful four weeks of his life until one day, a Friday after a particularly grueling session in the gym. As they did every day, they walked along the Charles River in the general direction of her home, rambling, trying to delay the inevitable parting.

They found an empty bench and sat, her hand finding his. His thumb caressed her fingers and in a moment that he forever after wished he could take back, he lifted her chin and turned her face to his.

His desire laid waste to his honor. His lips took hers and as he reached around her, to the small of her back, pulling her into him, her arms slid around his neck. He lost himself in the feel of her lips, her taste, and the feel of her back as his hands moved up her spine. She kissed him back, hard, searching, her fingers tangled in his hair. His hand moved along the base of her neck to the back of her head. He filled his hand with her hair and broke their kiss. Burying his face in her hair, he inhaled the scent of it, wanting this to last forever.

Taking her face in both hands, he kissed her once more, this time gently savoring it, as if he already knew what was coming. She pulled back and raised her fingers to his lips. She held them there for several seconds and a tear formed. She slowly shook her head, stood, and hurried down the path toward her home.

Alex called after her, but she broke into a slow jog, cut through the trees and climbed an over-walk above Storrow Drive. She disappeared down an alley on the other side of the street as he stood fists clinched.

The next day an envelope lay on the floor of his entryway, pushed through the mail slot. It wasn’t postmarked, only his name written on it. He recognized her writing. In a crashing moment of longing, he knew what was inside.

He didn’t open it then. He walked for an hour not really knowing where he was going, the cane in his hand heavier and his limp slowing him more. He finally ended up on the Harvard bridge over the Charles.

There he read it. When he was done, he fought off the tears. He beat them back by telling himself he had known this would come, that she would be faithful and that in the end she would reject him and what they were doing. Deep down, he knew it was a lie, but it kept the tears at bay. When he let the note go over the railing, uncrumpled, just a random note floating toward the water, his eyes were dry.

The letter landed on the swirling water as it made its way toward the bay and out to the ocean. It didn’t sink. He watched it until it was out of sight.

The anger came then. With a burst of rage, he hurled his cane into the air. It landed with a splash, the carbon fiber crutch floating away in the wake of the note.

He headed home. He never went back to the clinic. He never saw her again.
Until Venice.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The joys of editing.

Editing. It's what I'm doing now. As the Arimathean reaches the finish line this is the grunt work. Some writers love it. I hate it actually. Other than the realization that your work is about done it truly is mind numbing. So, it's doubly important and gratifying to work with an editor with a sense of humor. To wit...

There I was, 138 or so pages in, a scene where Alex Donovan wakes from a dream, if that's what it was, and is almost overcome with a sense of deja vu. The line in question and my editors comment that caused me to laugh out loud, at around 8:00 p.m. last night, was this:

"Alex stared at the name and the familiar curtain of deja vu fell away as he read the name out loud."

And then my editor's comments in the margin: "Yes, its familiar, its "Deja Vu" all over again, for the third time this chapter." Or something to that effect.

Thanks, Robb.

The Arimathean draws closer!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Check out my new website and update on The Arimathean!

Well, we've finished this stage of the new website. Check it out at There's even an excerpt from The Arimathean. As always comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Update on the status of The Arimathean. The editor should have the book back to me tomorrow at which point I'll be lowering myself into a dark candle lit crypt to make any changes, corrections or improvements, he suggests. When I re-emerge in three or four days it goes back for a final proofread and then off to the book designer. It's looking like the first week of October for a release date. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Childhood's End...

This article really resonated with me. As a kid I would hike in the mountains behind my house or walk to the creek and fish, walking up and down the canyon on whimsical explorations for hours. All of this from the time I was in fourth grade on. I can't count the number of great battles, epic hunting expeditions, far ranging crusades, I embarked on in my mind surrounded by the mountains, forests and streams.

Did I ever get hurt? Sure, once I fell on a hatchet strapped to my belt and put an eight inch gash in my side into which the doctor was able to insert his whole hand before he used sixty-five stitches to sew up.

Another time the local search and rescue team had to climb to the top of a giant cedar to help me repel back down after I spent four hours stuck near the top.

But I lived and I was better for every one of those adventures. Never had a video game or a t.v. just my imagination and the great outdoors.

Childhood's end

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Angels standing guard?

In the mist of death we, the living, know not what lurks. You can not say it is not true, for in the end what proof do we have that angels do not weep over the graves of men? None. It is an unprovable thing. And in that space, between the realms of believers and non-believers lies the realm of possibility.

It is a realm I gladly inhabit for to believe otherwise leaves me at the mercy of men and a dreamless void. Two hells I will not abide.

Ex-FBI Employee Claims She Saw Angels at Flight 93 - ABC News

Saturday, June 30, 2012


One of the more frequent questions I get from readers is "Where did you get the inspiration for Slow Boat To Purgatory?"

There were a couple of key inspirations, my love of Templar history and the artwork of Gustave Dore. But the biggest source of inspiration was the work of a famous priest whose thoughts and ideas helped to guide me.

Here he is talking about life after death...

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Like tears in rain..."

"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

Kindle fire giveaway!

I'm proud to be a sponsor of the launching of a great new site for readers and authors. Literary Addicts is giving away a Kindle Fire to celebrate their launch. Check it out and while your there check out the authors who are sponsoring this event! Including your's truly.

Kindle Fire giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Interface...a day late I know...for all the fathers.

The Interface
--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun

The empty rituals and dusty opulence
of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle,
and the sounds of departing automobiles
fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac.
Inside the house my mother sits quietly,
surrounded by the plates of finger food
that everybody brought and no one ate,
and wonders if she should begin to take
clothes from the closet, call the Goodwill.
Some blocks away, the minister hangs
his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch.

I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise,
park his car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile
in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out
at the Sierra mountains where, in June, the winter lingers.
On the seat beside me a well-taped cardboard cube
contains what remains of my father. I climb out
and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb
down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below.
The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by
and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I,
beside the snow-chilled stream.

The place we have come to is where the pines lean out
from the rounded boulders lodged above the stream;
where what the stream saves builds up in the backwater,
making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year:
Rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds,
diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings,
laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees,
gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles,
the rasping windwish of leaf fall crushed to dust,
the thunk of bone on bark, the thud of earth on wood,
the silence of soft ash scattered on chill waters.

And in such silence, he fades forever.

The stream, its waters revolving round
through river, ocean, clouds, and rain,
bears away the hands and eyes,
but still the memory remains,
answering, in pantomime,
the questions never asked:

Are these reflections but the world without,
carried on but never borne onward, westward,
towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh?
Or are such frail forms shaped upon the waters all
the things that are, and we above immersed in air
the forms that fade and only the mere mirrors of the stream?

Is this life all that is and, once life lost,
the end of all that was, with nothing
left to be, with no pine wind to taste,
nor sun to dapple mind with dream?
Is all that is but ash dissolving,
our lives but rain in circles falling?

Or are we yet the center of such circles,
our fall a rise above the shawl of night,
where all shall shine contained within
that single soul, that heart of stars;
that interface where souls and suns
and Earth's far scattered waters meet?

Meet in that one hand whose palm
still remains held out forever,
held out and for forever open
even in the coldest light of day.

Gerard Van der Leun

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When I want to be here...

"It's cool in the early morning. The window screens breathe in and out with the breeze. The sun finds all sorts of windows it's not on speaking terms with three seasons a year. Its fingers point out a spot a painter missed in 1901."

H/T American Digest

Lazy Summer Reads Winner.

Congratulations to Shalaena Bittick the winner of a singed copy of Slow Boat To Purgatory.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lazy Summer Reads Book Hop.

Welcome to everyone stopping by on the Lazy Summer Reads Book Hop. I'll be giving away a signed copy of Slow Boat to Purgatory to the winner(U.S. only). Just enter below. Earn additional points by filling out all the entry options.

Slow Boat To Purgatory...

Gaspar De Rouse, a Templar Knight, a man murdered by his brothers for the secret he possessed, resurrected and made immortal. Given a second chance at redemption he has walked the earth for over seven-hundred years.

Dominicus Bureau, a renegade priest, torn between his vows and the secret he pursues, a secret protected by an immortal. He carries a silenced pistol and uses it. Often.

Alex Donovan, a modern day warrior thrust into an ages old war, a war between good and evil, heaven and hell. Armed with an ancient chronicle of the life of Gaspar, Alex searches for the immortal and perhaps his own destiny.

All three men, passengers on a Slow Boat To Purgatory.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beyond this moment...

Beyond this moment lies a world of dreams, Alex. One where we can create our own reality. A place where we can walk as gods through landscapes of our own design. You can leave this world and its maddening chaos and for once be truly free. Stand by my right hand, Alex. The Templar fills you with lies. Come with me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Goodreads giveaway!

I'm giving away two signed copies of Slow Boat To Purgatory! Just click on the link on the sidebar and enter. And spread the word!

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Interview with Vernon Baker, Dreams and Beaujolais

An interesting interview of your's truly, well sort of, at my friend and fellow writer , Paige Pendleton's blog.

<a href="">Interview with author Vernon Baker</a>

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Prologue to the Arimathean

I've been away a while. The call of real life and the non-literary world has held sway over my time. But the Arimathean rises, it lives and it nears completion. I promise.

The Arimathean


There was a time in this life when I did not fully understand what it was I had become. It was early on after I had been left alone to find my way. I had come to this city, something within its watery soul a beacon and a source of peace.

In those days I would walk, in the light of day, amongst the people of the city, unaware myself of what I was.

For a reason I did not understand at the time, I gravitated to a small park situated on the grounds of one of the minor churches not far from my home. It was full of trees, large expanses of open grassy spaces, and as parks are today, full of small children brought there to escape the confines of dark and dreary homes by their mothers and grandmothers.

I would end up there in the early afternoon drawn to a stone bench that sat beneath the boughs of a stately oak. There was a substance woven into the fabric of this place by the running feet, the laughing, the crying raucous sounds of the children, which filled a void, or a need I could not fill elsewhere.

And so it went, my wanderings and explorations of the city, interspersed among my frequent calls to my new duties, always ending at the same bench, under the same tree.

It was only occasionally that I would look around me and see the time spun differences in the world around me. While I stayed the same, the city grew, buildings raised in open spaces I once walked. People who I had passed in market stalls, on city corners, day after day had changed, grown old and disappeared.

And my favorite haunt, that wondrous park, was not spared time’s wear. The stone bench I cared for, surreptitiously repairing and nurturing it over the years. I could not do anything for the tree which shaded my seat. Its limbs grew heavy, reaching low towards the ground, its roots clawing their way to the surface creating canyons which I learned to navigate by rote.

It was the children though that changed the most. As I watched day in day out, year in and year out, they grew as their mothers and grandmothers aged. They would disappear and then reappear with small children of their own, now themselves the mothers and as time wore on the grandmothers. It was always the same but for me it never grew old. I drew some sort of nourishment, established a bond with each one whose tiny feet graced that place.

And then one day it happened. Why it hadn’t occurred before I don’t know, but the shuffling sound of feet coming close drew my attention. An old woman, stooped low like the limbs above me, shuffled around and across the cavernous roots until she stood before my bench. I kept my face forward not daring to look her way.

After a time she sat; I heard the creak and crack of her bones. I’m not sure I breathed through those awful minutes as she stared at me, silent, as I stared straight ahead unmoving. Finally I turned and looked at her and in that moment when our eyes met I recognized her and she smiled.

She used to wear a brilliant blue dress, in those days it stood out amongst the drab brown many of the other children wore. Her tresses, now white streaked with gray, had been a golden wave of light cascading across the fields then. I had watched her grow until one day she had gone. I’d watched for her for days, months, years and then she had re-appeared, a grown woman, tall, still dressed in blue, shepherding a small boy. He too had grown and gone away, taking his mother with him.

Now as I looked into her eyes I saw them fill with tears, yet the smile remained.
“I knew you were real. From the first time I saw you as a young girl to that last time, when I moved from this city, I knew you were real.

“I asked my mother one day why you sat here, under the tree, never moving, just watching. She told me you were an angel, my guardian angel.

“When I brought my son to this place and I saw you, still the same, no older and still watching over me, I told him what you were.

“And then one day sitting in my son’s home, far away from this city, I knew I needed to come here and thank you for watching over me all these years. I knew you would be here.”

Her tears coursed down her face in and out of the creases and crevasses that reminded me of the canyons created by the roots beneath our feet. And then she reached out a hand and placed it on mine and I too began to cry.

After a time she drew back her hand and without saying another word she stood and shuffled off across the grassy field toward the now old and decrepit church. I lost sight of her as she passed through a throng of yelling, laughing children.

In those moments as she faded away I came to realize the danger of what I was, or seemed to be, to those whose mortal eyes might linger and come to recognize me. I was not some angelic being. I was a man; nothing more, nothing less.

That was the last time I ever visited that place.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's official...Here is the cover to "The Arimathean"

Well here it is. After some tweaking and reworking Carl Graves has done it again and produced what I think is a perfect cover for the followup to Slow Boat To Purgatory.

Carl took my sometimes rambling and I'm sure half coherent visions and produced a cover that speaks directly to the contents of the story. Of course you'll have to wait a bit to see if you agree as I'm still pounding away at the guts of the book(in between pounding away with a hammer at my fingers and the guts of our almost 100 year old restaurant building).

I'd love to hear your comments on the cover and thanks Carl, you're a master.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Val Kilmer as Mark Twain...

These aren't words. They are something else indeed. If I had to guess, this is as close as one gets to literary lucidity.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Got into some bones today...

For those who don't know, when I'm not being a husband, a dad, a proprietor of a place of lodging and an erstwhile scribbler of tales, I'm a restaurateur.

Anyone who has ever owned a restaurant and been successful at it can tell you that you must be able to do all the jobs. Just in case. Which leads me to this story and why I found myself covered in grime, sweat and the essence of something that I can only describe as otherworldly...

Got into some bones today...

Spent the day, hammer, crow bar and sledge in hand, delving into the guts of Papa J's. I'll not bore you with the details but only share this otherworldly moment.

At some point, knee deep below the floor, clearing away the remnants of some past proprietors shoddy construction, I came upon the bones of the place; huge beams, two of them showing signs of being carved by hand and literally holding up the place. What had evolved into a remorseful endeavor full of loathing and the more than occasional oath, became a metamorphosis into an understanding of the place. If that makes sense.

I've often wondered why it is that late at night, when friends and staff have gone their way and I sit, glass in hand, listening to music, trying to unwind, that characters, people, come to me here, telling me stories I have no right to conjure.

I'm starting to understand it a little more. As I get into the bones.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

There's an ill wind blowing tonight...

Tis an ill wind that blows warm in March…in Maine.

It carries tidings of war, pestilence and more. It opens a door long closed, a door to a realm not suited for men but a door that beckons to angelic beings looking for lost souls and a glass of wine.

Tis an ill wind that blows warm on Penobscot Bay.

It blows to shore brigantines long sunk, with blood thirsty pirates at the helm, in search of rape, pillage and souls to plunder.

Tis an ill wind that blows warm through the windows of an old route one tavern.

It slithers across a marble bar behind which stands a man in black, a bottle of red in one hand and a book in the other, reading tales to dead pirates, angels and the bringers of war…holding back the tides of a warm March wind.

Tis an ill wind that blows warm in March in Maine

Outside a horse is tethered awaiting it’s rider and I’m just sitting in the corner going along for the ride watching it all unfold.

The man in black he’s got them and the wind under his thumb. He's telling them a story of lost love. Love lost in a wave of unholy rage and darkness, lost in the ancient warrens of a Venetian palazzo. A once in many lifetimes love never again to be risked.

He spins the tale like a banshee and he doesn't move, he lets the words do his work. And as the tears fall from his eyes, his voice weaves a spell of remorse and understanding that holds sway over the assembled mass of soulless beings who in the end weep with him.

They know I'm here but this is their soiree and the wine in my glass keeps being refilled by wispy remnants of ring clad fingers crisscrossed with scars and welts that tell only one tale.

And now the wind is cooling.

As he pours into the assorted gold, bronze and wooden goblets, held out in ever growing supplication, from a bottle that never empties, he glances across the room at me and smiles.

A sound like the songs sung by the angels who guard the dock on heaven's shore reaches my mind and while his lips don't move I know he's singing to me. He's telling me the stories I've never heard, the ones I've always imagined but could never quite conjure.

As the wind fades away so do the vagabonds, one by one, until it's only me and him…and the stories.

I can hear the breath of his horse outside my door, the occasional stamp of an impatient hoof shaking the time worn floor beneath my feet.

Now, two glasses rest on the table before me and as I lose myself in his words and the endless depths of the red nectar in my glass, I'm taken back in time, into the past lives of a man whose feet have trod this earth for seven hundred years.

I see the lives torn asunder in his wake, by those mortals who have and do pursue him and what he guards, by the angelic beings on both sides of the eternal divide some of who toil on only in the darkest hope that one day they may taste his soul, and the lives lost at his hand.

I see it all in a never ending tableau, a parade of darkness and light, pain and torment and the righteous hope of salvation. Someday, some way, all this will end. Until then...the stories, and the wine, flow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book cover concept #2 for The Arimathean

Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks to all the new readers who downloaded Slow Boat!

I wanted to say thanks and welcome aboard to all those who took advantage of the two day promotion and downloaded Slow Boat to Purgatory. Over 1500 more copies are now in the hands of readers and I hope to hear from some of you soon.

We arrived back in Maine(65 degrees upon arrival)today and the final push on the followup to Slow Boat, The Arimathean, begins now!

Thanks again,


Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Boat to Purgatory is FREEE!!!!!

Starting at midnight tonight Slow Boat To Purgatory will be free on all Amazon sites. That means wherever you are in the world you can pick up a free e-book copy. The promotion will last 48 hours and I'm hoping to connect with some new readers so spread the news and climb aboard the Slow Boat for free!

Slow Boat To Purgatory free promo

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The wines of Slow Boat to Purgatory comes to Jacksonville!

Join me on Thursday March 8th at The Cork and Keg wine bar in Jacksonville/St.Johns Florida for another episode of The Wines of Slow Boat to Purgatory book signing party.

We will be tasting some great wines, tasting fee is $5, and I'll be selling and signing copies of Slow Boat To Purgatory.

Here is the link to Cork and Kegs Facebook page. Show them some love by liking their page... Cork and Keg

Event starts at 6:00 p.m. and goes until 8:00 p.m.

108 Bartram Oaks Walk, Suite 105, Fruit Cove, FL 32259

1 904.287.4310

Friday, February 24, 2012

Check out Slow Boat To Purgatory on

Just getting started on It was cool to find out 30 people have the book and a couple of them have been having fun adding the names of characters etc. Pretty cool site. Similar to Goodreads but I see some neat differences.

Feel free to follow me and Slow Boat To Purgatory.

Slow Boat to Purgatory on

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It gets in your blood...

It gets in your blood.

It seeps in like a meandering river, the surface of the water so still, so unfathomable, that it takes a piece of flotsam, a log, maybe a body, silently floating by to give tell to the otherwise imperceptible current.

It slithers in like the moccasin with the fat frog in its mouth, sashaying across the pond as you hurriedly reel in your line and ease back from the shoreline, the sense of an underlying presence of evil not enough to scare you off, subtle enough you think it can be controlled, that you can bask in its shadow without it rubbing off.

It wisps in as you walk through a grove of oaks older than your great grand-father, the moss reaching out to ensnare you in the years and the ghosts who have walked this path before you, bony gray fingers caressing you, leaving tell-tale tracks of their passing.

It comes as a dream, when you're most vulnerable, as you lie under her stars, seeking peace and solace but in the end wide open to the things that pull those stars down from above, remaking them into crystal goblets, those things that kneel at the feet of Bacchus and fill the starry cups with a nectar so intoxicating you'd sell your soul to the first voodoo priestess to lift her skirt and wag a finger in your direction, just so you could lick the beads of sweat that form on her breasts in the heat of the night.

It gets in your blood this place they call Louisiana.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Excerpt from The Arimathean.

Gregory raced, carrying the lance, through the alleys and streets of Jerusalem. His path took him in the direction of the Roman barracks and the various taverns surrounding them.

After recovering the lance he had made his way to the agreed upon meeting place a short distance from his ambush. There he met a messenger from his master who relayed the location of the other item he intended to recover.

He slowed as he neared his destination. This area was full of taverns and shops selling all manner of food and drink. It was popular with the Romans as it was close to their barracks. After a heavy bout of drinking they could stumble home without too much effort.

Arriving at a small mud-walled building, he examined the roofline looking for a point of entry. Still holding the lance he climbed upon a large earthen jug leaning against the wall and wormed his way into the eaves of the ramshackle building. Slowly he crawled along the rafters until he could look down on an open-air courtyard, through a narrow opening in the roof.

An assortment of tables, chairs and benches were arranged around a small fire. The tavern was empty of customers except for two roman soldiers sitting at a table before the fire. They drank from mugs brought to them by a young Jewish girl. Both men were rather drunk and eyed the server with obvious lust when she brought them a new drink.

The object he had come for lay on the table between them; the robe. Gregory recognized both of the Romans from the place of the skull. They had been gambling over the purple garment and one of these soldiers had been the winner.

“Another round!” the larger of the two yelled. He was an older soldier, the arm band on his left arm signifying that he was a decanus, and from the scars and welts running along his bare arms Gregory could tell he had seen more than his share of action. The other soldier was much younger, fresh faced and clearly a recent arrival in Jerusalem.

The girl, perhaps no more than fourteen, hurried through a doorway carrying two large mugs and placed them on the table. As she moved away the soldier’s meaty hand closed on her upper arm. Before she had time to react she found herself on the man’s lap struggling in futile resistance. She was no match for the heavily muscled brute.

“You’re quite the beauty. I’ve not been here before. If I had known about you I’d have been here long ago. Apparently today is my lucky day. I have a treat for you.”
The soldier reached for the robe and with a flourish he draped it over the girl’s shoulders.

“The robe of royalty. Now you’re my own little Jewish Princess.”

An older man rushed through the doorway into the courtyard, “Gentleman, please. We are so glad you are with us tonight, but please leave the girl alone.”

Ignoring the old man the soldier leered at the girl and then began nuzzling her neck. Gregory could see the fear in her eyes.

“You have no idea what a treat these little Jewesses are, Ruston, such lovely little temptresses. Have you had one yet?” The big man asked his compatriot.

The young soldier shook his head and Gregory sensed he was unsure of his friend’s actions as he looked from the old man, to the girl, and back to her captor.

“No? Well maybe this is the one for you then...right after I’m done with her.”

With that he stood and threw the young girl face down across the table. With one hand pressing down on her back he moved his other hand under her dress. The girl began screaming. The girl’s father rushed at the big soldier and grabbed ahold of his upper arm.

“No! You can’t do this! I beg you, release my daughter!”

The back of the soldier’s hand lashed out catching the man across the face. He collapsed in a heap beside the table.

“Make yourself useful and make sure the old Jew doesn’t bother me again,” the big man said before turning his attention back to the girl still pinned on the table.

The young soldier stood and hovered over the old man. He kept one eye on the crumpled form, but most of his attention was on the scene playing out on the table.

Slowly Gregory placed the lance across the rafters next to him. He lowered himself to the ground, into a dark storage room with a doorway leading into the courtyard.
Once on the ground he drew his sword and crept to the doorway. He opened it a crack and surveyed the courtyard. The young soldier was still rooted to the ground, his back toward Gregory. The would-be rapist was struggling with his scabbard belt, trying to free himself. He was turned in Gregory’s direction but engrossed in his belt buckle. The girl was struggling but she was facing Gregory, and she had seen him crack open the door, and now was looking directly into his eyes. He saw her pleading look and slowly he raised his finger to his lips. She acknowledged his gesture with a gentle nod. She surreptitiously reached out with one hand and grabbed hold of one of the mugs.

Gregory threw open the door and moving fast covered the distance across the courtyard to where the young soldier stood guard over the still unmoving form of the girl’s father.
The young man sensed the movement, but before he could turn Gregory slammed the hilt of his sword against the base of his skull. The young soldier crumpled in a heap.

When Gregory made his move the girl flung the mug and its contents into the face of the legionnaire. The man was a veteran, of that there was no doubt, because he moved with a speed Gregory grudgingly acknowledged, the girl’s attempt at distraction not slowing him in the least. He whipped his sword out and assumed a fighting stance before Gregory could strike. He moved away from the girl and into the open space. A smile crossed the warrior’s face.

“Well, what do we have here? Looking for a taste of the girl, little man? I’m not sharing.”

Gregory didn’t respond, he moved away from the unconscious forms at his feet into the clear across from the soldier.

“For such a small man you carry a big sword. Do you know how to use it?”

Gregory remained silent, waiting, balanced perfectly, his mind clear of everything but the eyes and the hands of the big man.

Perhaps his instincts were not as dulled from drink as it had appeared, because the leering smile slowly faded from the soldier’s face and his eyes grew deadly serious. As if he sensed something in the man before him, he went silent.

And then Gregory spoke, “When I’m done with you they will call you the eunuch.”

The soldier lunged, stabbing out with a brutal thrust Gregory easily parried. The big man then spun in a ferocious circle the blade spinning, searching out Gregory’s head. When the blade missed its target he seemed surprised, bewildered that no one was before him. It was a moment before he realized blood was flowing freely from a wound low in his abdomen. He placed a hand to the wound and lifted it inspecting the dark red stain.
Turning he found Gregory behind him. To his credit he never gave up before he died.

“You’re fast, little man.”

He stumbled slightly before gathering himself and with a roar he lurched forward at Gregory. This time the soldier’s sword was flicked away easily by Gregory’s blade and then followed by a brutal slashing blow that started at the man’s left shoulder and continued downward toward his guts.

Slowly Gregory walked in a circle around the old warrior, who stood in place his sword hanging limply at his side. Once more facing him he looked into the soldier’s eyes.

“Why? What did I do to you?” the soldier gasped in a tortured whisper.

“You gambled and won the robe, nothing more,” Gregory replied.

A confused, disbelieving looked crossed his face for a moment right before he fell to the ground, already dead, at Gregory’s feet.

He turned to find the young girl clutching the robe and staring at him. He moved toward the young soldier on the ground. Hefting the sword in his hand, he contemplated him for a moment. There had been more than enough death today.

He moved toward the girl and stopped before her. She looked down at the robe and back to Gregory. With trembling hands she held it out to him.

He took it and turned to leave.

“Whose robe was it?” the girl asked quietly.

He stood still for a moment before he answered.

“A king’s.”

"Don't just practice your art. Force your way into its secrets." -- Beethovan

H/T American Digest

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review of Diary of a Small Fish...

Diary of a small fish is not groundbreaking, unique, or genre bending. In the end it’s not really surprising. But I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s funny, a tad profane, sexy, fast paced enough to keep the reader engaged and could serve as a “how to get around, where to eat, where to play golf(if you're connected and have a fat wallet)and how to talk" manual if one is in Boston or its surrounding environs.
The story is fairly predictable but that never distracted from my enjoyment, and in fact was rather refreshing. Good guys and bad guys are who you think they are and the descriptions of both the political world and the city of Boston ring true, obviously springing from the author’s own experiences and life.
Oh, and I cried once. Not that my tears are such a hard thing for an author to conjure but it was an aspect of the story that displayed Mr. Morin’s substantial literary chops. He weaved the tear inducing scene into the story in a way that was tender, heartfelt and admirable.
The book could do with one last edit for some minor mistakes, missing words mostly, but all in all I would recommend Small Fish and eagerly await more from Pete Morin.

Diary of a Small Fish

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cozy up with a book blog hop giveaway.

Welcome to everyone making the rounds. I'll be giving away two signed copies of Slow Boat to Purgatory to the winners. Just follow the blog and leave a comment with your e-mail. Winners will be chosen by random.

Be sure and scroll down from this post and tell me what you think of the concept cover for The Arimathean, the followup to Slow Boat to Purgatory.

Thanks and good luck!


Here it is. The first concept cover for The Arimathean.

Please feel free to comment. Font will be changing to match that of Slow Boat.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Maurice Franklin, Wood Turner

A wonderfully written piece about a singular human being...

"Make no mistake, Maurice is a virtuoso. When rooms at Windsor Castle burnt out a few years ago, the Queen asked Maurice to make a new set of spindles for her staircase and invited him to tea to thank him for it too. “Did you grow up in the East End?” she enquired politely, and when Maurice nodded in modest confirmation of this, she extended her sympathy to him. “That must have been hard?” she responded with a empathetic smile, although with characteristic frankness Maurice disagreed. “I had a loving family,” he told her plainly, “That’s all you need for a happy childhood, you don’t need palaces for that.”"

Click the link

The Wood Turner

H/T American Digest

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet the Author thread on Amazon...

I have posted a link below to a thread I started on Amazon. It is a place where readers can come to ask questions, make comments and get updates. There have been some fun questions and comments already. Come on over and join the fun!

Click the link.

Meet Author Vernon Baker

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beyond cool...James Bond car show in the U.K.!

I've posted the link below to a cool story about a car show in the U.K. featuring the cars from the James Bond films. As a kid the James Bond films were my introduction to the espionage/spy genre and while my current literary focus is of a slightly different bent I have never purged my system of the love of these movies.

There are some great shots of Bond's DB7. A similar car, black on black, makes an appearance in "The Arimathean".

Now, how many books do I have to sell to get my own DB7?

Click the link!
James Bond Car Show

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gustatus Similis Pullus: Mystique of the Templar

Many thanks to my friend and fellow writer Paige Pendleton who interviewed me on her blog. It's always fun to talk about the Knights Templar!

Gustatus Similis Pullus: Mystique of the Templar:             What is the fascination with an order of knights long dead?  I first saw the co-option of the name Knights Templar last Aug...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

7400+ Free Copies of Slow Boat To Puragatory!

Well, the final tally appears to be almost 7500 free copies of Slow Boat To Purgatory "sold" during the three days that it was on promotion. This included over 420 copies in the U.K. and 16 in Germany which were my first "sales" in Germany. It also seems to have brought in a significant number of regular sales so far.

I am very excited about all the new readers and hope to hear from many of them as they read the book.

Work on the followup to Slow Boat is moving forward with some really nice progress this past week. Of course, Gaspar, Alex and Dominicus will be back and they'll be doing battle with some new enemies both human and non-human. There will also be a couple of new characters who will figure prominently in the story.

I'll be posting some preliminary cover designs soon and look forward to everyone's feedback on those.

Thanks again to everyone who helped during the promotion and to all the new readers welcome aboard The Slow Boat!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

6000 FREE copies of Slow Boat in the last 48 hrs!

Over 6000 copies of Slow Boat To Purgatory have been downloaded for free on, U.K., Germany and Spain, in the last 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who has spread the word and welcome to all the new readers.

It is my hope that you find the book satisfying, fun and interesting. As always please contact me at or here at the blog. I thorughly enjoy hearing from readers with comments and critiques. The book will be free a little longer so there is still time to climb aboard The Slow Boat!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Slow Boat to Purgatory is FREEE!!!!!

Slow Boat to Purgatory is now part of's lending program for prime members. AND...To celebrate the New Year, Slow Boat to Purgatory is free for a limited time for everyone starting January fourth! Spread the word to your friends!